Asian markets rise amid lull in global tensions

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Asian markets gained in early trading Tuesday as Middle East tensions remained high, but at least didn’t rise any higher.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday said U.S. troops are not planning on pulling out of Iraq, despite the release of a draft letter than suggested as much, and also said that despite threats from President Donald Trump, the U.S. would not target Iranian cultural sites if further hostilities break out.

U.S. stocks gained Monday after a mid-session rally, and crude oil prices, which had surged the past two trading days since a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general in Iraq, retreated Tuesday amid the geopolitical lull. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery












CLG20, -1.11%










 and March Brent crude












BRNH20, -1.18%










 , the global benchmark, were last both down more than 1%. Gold prices












GCG20, -0.53%










  also fell from a seven-year high Monday.

Japan’s Nikkei












NIK, +1.39%










  jumped 1.4%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index












HSI, +0.50%










  rose 0.5%. The Shanghai Composite












SHCOMP, +0.36%










  edged up 0.4% while the Shenzhen Composite












399106, +0.79%










  advanced 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi












180721, +0.95%










 gained 1%. Stocks rose in Singapore












STI, +0.64%










 , but fell in Taiwan












Y9999, -0.64%










 and were about flat in Indonesia












JAKIDX, -0.12%










 . Australia’s S&P/ASX 200












XJO, +1.36%










  rose 1.2%.

Among individual stocks, Sony












6758, +3.56%










  gained in Tokyo trading, as did auto makers such as Toyota












7203, +1.78%










 , Honda












7267, +2.36%










 and Mazda












7261, +2.40%










 . In Hong Kong, casino operator Galaxy Entertainment












27, +2.58%










  rose; along with tech giant Tencent












700, +1.96%










 . Samsung












005930, +0.72%










  advanced in South Korea, while Oil Search












OSH, +2.22%










 and Westpac












WBC, +1.19%










  gained in Australia.

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